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RFID blocking wallets - what are they, and should you get one?

RFID blocking wallets are designed to give you some extra security for your credit and debit cards, but what are they really, and do you need to get one?
February 19, 2019
VISA payWAve technology - RFID blocking wallets

Even in this age of Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, where you can use virtual payments to purchase items in real stores and restaurants with your smartphone, the “old fashioned” credit card and debit card isn’t going away anytime soon. With that said, many people who use them are afraid that the payment information that’s on those cards could be lifted by hackers, even if they remain inside a wallet.

That fear includes the newer credit and debit cards that have RFID chips inside. That’s why some folks who use those kinds of cards are buying RFID blocking wallets, which are supposed to keep hackers from taking your payment information. But what is an RFID blocking wallet, and do you even need to get one? That’s what we are going to talk about in this article.

What is an RFID credit/debit card?

RDIF stands for “Radio Frequency Identification”. The hardware inside an RFID-based device is basically a small chip and a radio antenna. RDIF chips are used in a number of products and devices. For example, you can tag luggage with an RFID chip so you can track it and never have to worry about losing it during a flight. RFID chips are also used to track and identify livestock animals and even pets.

In the case of an RFID credit and debit card, the chip contains your payment information, and you can simply touch the card to a compatible reader to pay for items, rather than swiping a card with a magnetic strip or inserting the card with another chip.

What is an RFID blocking wallet?

Photo of a RFID blocking wallet to help you protect your credit cards.

There are many concerns that hackers could use devices to intercept the radio signal that is generated by an RFID credit or debit card and lift your payment info from that card, even if it is in your wallet. If you buy an RFID blocking wallet, it should block any radio waves generated by your RFID card, and thus you should be safe from any hacking attempts.

Do you need an RFID wallet?

The short answer to this question, in our opinion, is “Maybe”. While it’s true that the vast majority of RFID chips in credit cards have not been skimmed by radio hackers, it has been reported out in the wild by a few people. Therefore, getting an effective RFID blocking wallet should give you an extra amount of security, as well as some peace of mind. In other words, while the odds of being hacked aren’t ultra-high it doesn’t hurt to be safe, rather than sorry later.

Best RFID blocking wallets

Here’s a look at the best RFID blocking wallets you can buy at the moment, and as you will see there’s quite a variety to choose from; from very traditional wallets to high-tech products to keep your credit cards safe.

Alpine Swiss Men’s RFID Wallet

One of the best RFID blocking wallets - Alpine Swiss Men's RFID Wallet

Here’s a very traditional men’s wallet from Alpine Swiss, with slots that will hold up to 10 credit and debit cards, plus an ID window slot. According to the company, this RFID wallet will shield them, while also allowing other cards that use different frequencies, such as ID badges, hotel cards, and some transit cards, to be used while still inside the wallet. The leather material comes in three colors (black, gray and brown) and it’s available on Amazon or from Alpine Swiss for $14.99.

Roco Aluminum Money Clip RFID Wallet

Roco Aluminum Money Clip RFID Wallet

If you are the sort of person who prefers a money clip-style wallet to store your cash and cards, check out this sleek looking product from Roco. This minimalist design can keep your RFID credit cards safe from hackers thanks to its aluminum material. Even with its slim design, you could hold as many as 20 credit cards inside if you really wanted to. You also have your choice of several different colors and designs for this money clip. It’s available on Amazon for $14.95.

Slimfold RFID Wallet

Slimfold RFID Wallet

This RFID wallet comes from SlimFold, and it’s a pretty cool product for more than just its radio blocking features. It’s made of a special material that the company calls Soft Shell and it’s supposed to be just 0.55mm thick, which makes the wallet itself extremely thin. It can still hold up to 8 credit cards, along with cash. Once more,  the material is also waterproof and is extremely durable. All of those features come at a high price; the SlimFold RFID wallet costs between $45 and $48 on Amazon, depending on which color option you pick.

Ranger RFID Wallet

Ranger RFID Wallet

Here’s another pretty slim RFID blocking wallet from Ranger. It’s made of steel which should keep any skimming hacker away from your credit card info. While it’s extremely slim, it can still hold up to 8 credit or debit cards. Finally, this wallet comes with a flat multi-purpose tool, which can come in handy in certain situations. The flat rectangular tool can be used as a bottle opener, a  1/4 tool driver, a wrench that can support several U.S. and metric sizes, and a flathead screwdriver. You can get this RFID wallet from Amazon for $36.

Bryk RFID Wallet

Bryk RFID Wallet

Our final RFID wallet comes from Bryk, and as you can see its a pure stainless steel product, which makes it look great as well as offering a material that should block RFID signals. It even comes in a very nice case if you want to give it to a family member, co-worker or friend as a gift. It also comes with a latch that should keep your cards and cash secure and safe against physical issues and threats. It can hold up to seven credit or debit cards, and it even comes with a lifetime guarantee. You can get the Bryk RFID blocking wallet in regular stainless steel, or in a black stainless steel color, from Amazon for the price of $15.97.

That’s our look at RFID wallets and why it might be a good idea to get one. Are you thinking about getting such a wallet? Let us know in the comments!